Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Up North Ishikawa

The prefecture that I live in, Ishikawa, is known for it's beautiful countryside views. Since my arrival here, I had been wanting to explore "up north" Ishikawa but was continuously told I needed a car to do it. No public transportation would take me there. I listened for a while, but then I finally started digging. I thought my parents' visit was a perfect occasion to explore the rest of the prefecture, something that would be new for all of us. 

I ended up finding a sightseeing bus that went two hours north to the city of Wajima. It isn't quite as far as you can go in the prefecture, but it's pretty close and it's the farthest north I've been. Ishikawa is a peninsula that juts out into the Sea of Japan. Around here, we can get mountain views mixed with seafront ones. 

Our day trip to Wajima started bright and early, but with dawn being so early in Japan this was no problem for us. We boarded the tour bus at 7:50 a.m. and we quickly learned our tour guide was going to talk the entire way up, scarcely coming up for air. Now my parents understood 0.00% of her Japanese and I understood a whapping 1.00%. Too bad because I knew what she was saying was likely very informative about the area, but I guess that's the breaks. She was talking at a speed that would rival any teenage gossip girl that dared to challenge her.

We sat back and enjoyed the beautiful views as we drove north, up the Sea of Japan coast. As always in my life abroad, I wasn't 100% sure what to expect. I was pretty sure I knew roughly what was going to happen, but I'm always mentally prepared for some surprise I didn't see coming. 

The bus was set to take us to various locations in Wajima and the immediate area in order to explore them. The first stop was the Asaichi Morning Market, famous for fresh fish, beautiful lacquerware, and produce. This is where the only challenge to my intellect happened. The bus parked about a five minute walk from the market and though we knew what time we had to meet, we weren't sure where. Of course, because I didn't understand the tour guide's instructions. It left my parent's in a bit of panic, but I wanted to remain calm because I'd been through worse before. Mom's logic was, they wouldn't leave us behind. I wasn't convinced I could get us back to the bus, but when our time grew short I just relaxed and knew I had to. Turned out we were supposed to meet back at the bus, and I found it just fine. Crisis averted. 

We traveled along to several more stops including the Shiroyone Semaida rice terraces, the Wajima Kiriko Lantern Museum, and the Chirihama Beach Driveway.

I knew lunch was included in our tour, but again not sure what to expect. I was squealing with joy as I saw we were being ushered to a lovely restaurant with a beautiful sea view and being served a gorgeous Japanese set lunch. I was glad my parents got to experience this.

Typically I'm one for finding my own way and I don't take part in tours like these. However, this was a perfect way for me to see more of my prefecture, have a comfortable ride for us all, and for me to show my parents someplace far away without having my own car. At ¥7,500 per person or $67.00 it was well worth the money for this full experience. Now all we need to do is learn Japanese so we can finally understand what that woman was saying!